Sep 2006

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Linux 2.6 Device Model

Sat, 16 Sep 2006

In the 2.4 and earlier Linux kernels, there was no unified database of what devices were present in the system, and how they were connected with each other. The implications of this are:

  • The user had to grep through log messages to find out if a particular device has been detected by the kernel or not. There was no straight forward method for an application to list out what devices have been detected by the kernel, and whether a driver has been associated with the device.

  • It was not possible to do proper power management, because this requires information on how the devices are connected in a system. As an example, before a USB controller is powered down, all the USB peripherals connected to that controller had to be powered down.

To overcome these problems, in 2.5 and later kernels a framework has been provided to maintain a device model. This article describes this device model framework. The intention of this article is to provide a bird’s eye view of the working of the device model framework. The specific details of each sub-component can be obtained from various other books/articles and of course the kernel source code.

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